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State audits LHSAA, finds $400,000 in questionable expenses

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Posted: Sep 27, 2010 10:34 PM by Ashley Rodrigue
Updated: Sep 27, 2010 10:53 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: LHSAA, audit, Henry, dollars, shopping, cigars, travel, meals

Questionable expenses were found after an audit of the group that regulates high school sports.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association's former Commissioner Tommy Henry said the organization's Board of Directors approved every purchase, making those purchases legitimate buys in his eyes. Now, the organization said it's no longer business as usual.

Tommy Henry said he was the face of the LHSAA for almost 30 years, but the organization said that face now has a black eye because of him.

"It definitely hurts," said LHSAA Commissioner Kenny Henderson, "and it's not a good thing for the LHSAA."

It is the state audit outlining how former Commissioner Henry spent almost $400,000 of the organization's money in his last few years.

The report shows $51,000 was spent on cigars, almost $30,000 was spent on meals and $20,000 was charged on golf games. Henry explained it as entertainment for the organization's corporate sponsors and staff, along with state officials.

As for travel, two trips to Chicago with his wife raked in $16,000. $5,000 was spent on shopping sprees at Saks 5th Avenue and other high end stores. The report notes many of the purchases did not have proper documentation and did not have a clear business purpose.

Henry refused an on-camera interview with News 2 but defended the spending by saying it was all approved by the Board, and it was all necessary for all the jobs he was responsible for.

The organization said it's shocking but not something the LHSAA allows anymore.

"We have some procedures in place that were put in place before this audit actually took place as to what we do, what we're able to pay for, what we will not pay for, and then there's still got to be documentation on everything we do," said Henderson.

The next task on the to-do list for the LHSAA is re-gaining and maintaining trust.

"We're trying to be as transparent as we can and to make sure that we are good stewards of the monies that we're entrusted with," said Henderson.

The IRS is working on its own audit into the finances. The District Attorney's Office is also reviewing the state audit for possible criminal violations. The LHSAA Board of Directors meets at the end of next month to consider getting money back from Henry.

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